Politics Gone Awry

Tim Tilsworth / Opinion / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner / March 10, 2004

Recent political events have caused me to wonder which constituents our political representatives are listening to.

Aerial wolf hunting: We told them twice not to do it, but the governor did it anyway. And now we've got a tourism boycott along with bad publicity for the state. Where are your representatives to voice your opinions to the governor? They have enough votes to override his bad decisions, but they haven't done so!

Bear baiting: Why don't we just have Fish and Game capture all the bears and put them on a target range so hunters won't have to work so hard to shoot them? How many advantages do the hunters need? Guns, bows and arrows, snowmachines, airplanes, off-road vehicles, traps, bear baiting, etc.

Political censuring: Now our duly elected representatives have to vote along party lines or they get censured. I thought we sent them to represent us. How naive! Maybe the "party leadership" needs to be censured?

Permanent fund: No matter how much money the politicians have, it will never be enough. When the pipeline was built, they told us we would be rich beyond belief and some Alaskans were--temporarily. If we give them access to the permanent fund, they'll spend it and then some. Give them a $100 million and they'll spend $200 million. Give them access to the permanent fund and they'll spend it and then some more. Give them the Percent of Market Value plan and you can kiss the permanent fund goodbye.

And let's have a show of hands: How many Alaskans thought the governor's Conference of Alaskans would recommend against the POMV? But that doesn't matter because they were going to do it anyway. The politicians are so desperate to gain control of the permanent fund that they would even have a POMV with a constitutionally guaranteed dividend program. Don't believe them and don't let them in, folks. Once they get in, it's gone. Just say no, again!

Permanent fund dividend payoff: Even Alaskan first-graders know better than to support this idea. The suggested $20,000 enticement is just another attempt by the politicians to get control of the permanent fund. Only the elderly would truly benefit with a one-time payoff, and they're smart enough not to spend future generations' resources.

Taxes: Yes, former Gov. Hammond was right when he said we should never have repealed the income tax. But, again, give the politicians an inch and they'll take a mile.

We need an income tax coupled with a sales tax (abhorred by businesses) to fund the state treasury by taxing everyone--ourselves, the military, the tourists and the out-of-state workers.

Oh, and I forgot the oil industry. They've been given some very nice breaks for the past 30 years, and it's time for them to bite the bullet along with us. But--beware--watch your pocketbooks or the politicians will give you not only the sales tax, but also the income tax, the tire tax, the alcohol tax, the tourism tax, the cigarette tax, the bed tax, the vehicle tax, the business license tax, etc., etc. And, they'll take your permanent fund as well.

Elections: And finally, some of our incumbent local politicians ought to get a surprise next election. They could care less what you or I think--unless, of course, you're a special interest group with a lot of money. It's time for some fresh faces who will truly represent us instead of just doing whatever the Republican Party leaders tell them to do.

Tim Tilsworth is a 34-year resident of Fairbanks and a retired engineering professor of the University of Alaska.

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